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Funding for energy efficiency in homes

This advice applies to Scotland

How to make your home more energy efficient

You can make your home warmer, use less electricity and gas and make your energy bills cheaper by insulating your home and installing renewable measures.

Insulating and using efficient heating and lighting

The following are ways you can better insulate your home or make it cheaper to heat:

  • insulating your home – using cavity wall insulation, external wall cladding and loft insulation, subject to an assessment of your home
  • installing an efficient boiler – modern, well maintained boilers and modern heating controllers can make your home warmer and may reduce your energy costs
  • getting a smart meter – these can help you see your home’s energy usage to help you make changes. They can also limit the need for meter readings
  • installing energy efficient windows – efficient double glazed windows keep more heat in
  • using energy efficient LED lighting – can reduce your electricity costs as they are more efficient than traditional light bulbs

Installing renewable energy measures

Once your home is well insulated you could consider installing renewable energy measures, for example:

  • solar panels – these can be fitted to your roof and can provide you with electricity from the sun. In some cases, you can sell your excess solar energy through schemes such as the Smart Export Guarantee
  • air source or ground source heat pumps – these need some outside space and will require some electricity to run but then will constantly renew the heat they extract from either the ground or the air
  • wind power – you would need enough outside space to install a wind turbine on your property. You might be eligible to sell your excess electricity through schemes such as the Smart Export Guarantee

Is my home suitable for energy efficiency improvements

Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to provide free and impartial advice to anyone who wants to make energy efficient improvements to their home. They can carry out an assessment of your home to assess how energy efficient it is. This will involve looking at your heating and how well insulated your home is and rating it. They can then advise what energy saving measures you can make.

There are various factors that need to be taken into account when deciding what improvements to make, for example:

  • if you are eligible for energy saving grants
  • what you can afford to do
  • how efficient your home already is
  • how you use your home

If a company has approached you and suggested energy efficient improvements for your home, then before you sign a contract or agree to have improvements done you should check with more than one company and you can contact Home Energy Scotland about what is most suitable for your home, budget and lifestyle.

Can I get financial help to pay for energy saving measures

The Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and energy suppliers offer a range of financial measures, usually in the form of grants, loans or incentives.

Financial help may be:

  • available for certain types of energy efficient improvements – sometimes the financial help is targeted at certain improvements, such as boilers or loft insulation
  • means tested – you may need to be receiving certain benefits to qualify for the financial help
  • dependant on where you live in Scotland – some types of financial support might only be available in some areas of Scotland

  • available from your energy supplier – they may help towards the costs of replacing an old boiler or heating system. It can be useful to contact your energy supplier to see if they are providing any current help

You receive benefits - can you get help to make energy saving improvements

The following support is available to people who meet the eligibility criteria.

If you have lived in your home for at least 12 months

The Warmer Homes Scotland scheme can help vulnerable people who are home owners or private sector tenants and have lived in their property for at least 12 months. Under this scheme there are a number of different measures available, such as loft insulation, wall insulation, central heating and renewables. Find out more about the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme with Home Energy Scotland.

Check what is available locally

Area Based schemes are offered by local authorities. Whether you are eligible and what is available to you will depend on where you live. Find out more about Area Based schemes with Home Energy Scotland.

You’re a tenant - can you make energy saving improvements

Energy saving measures are not limited to homeowners. As a tenant there are options that allow you to make your home more energy efficient.

The help available may depend on your tenancy type. If you are unsure about the type of tenancy you have you can check whether you are Renting from a public sector landlord or Renting from a private landlord

Alternatively you can use the Tenancy checker on the Shelter Scotland website to help you find out the type of tenancy you have.

If you're a public sector tenant

If you're a public sector tenant your landlord will be the council or a housing association. You should contact your landlord to check if there are any schemes in operation to improve the property you live in.

There are special standards for public sector landlords and the tenants' guide to the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing explains the types of measures a landlord might make. 

If you are a private sector tenant

You can ask your private landlord to consider making the rented property more energy efficient. There is a template letter available on the Energy Saving Trust website that you can use to do this.

If you are vulnerable and have lived in your home for at least 12 months the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme can provide help. Under this scheme there are a number of different measures available, such as loft insulation, wall insulation, central heating and renewables.

You’re a landlord - can you make energy saving improvements

From April 2020, the Scottish Government is introducing minimum efficiency standards for homes in the private rental sector. Find out more about your responsibilities as a landlord from Home Energy Scotland.

You should check Home Energy Scotland - support for private landlords for free and impartial advice on loans and payment incentive schemes.

The following loans may be available for eligible landlords.

Interest free Scottish Government loan that can cover multiple rental properties

The Resource Efficient Scotland loan provides interest free loans to help private sector landlords install measures to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Loans are also available towards the installation of renewable technologies. Find out more about the Resource Efficient Scotland loan with Home Energy Scotland.

Interest free Scottish Government loan for up to 3 properties

The Home Energy Scotland Loan scheme is available on a first come, first served basis subject to availability of funds. Funding up to £38,500 per home is available to owner occupiers and eligible registered private sector landlords in Scotland. It is for energy efficiency improvements, home renewables systems or connections to an approved district heating scheme powered by a renewable energy source. Connection to mains gas is included. Find out more about the Home Energy Scotland Loan scheme.

Borrowing against the value of your property

The Equity Loan scheme from the Scottish Government is a pilot scheme that is operating in some areas of Scotland. It allows those who qualify and meet the criteria to borrow money against the value of their property with no ongoing repayments. The money borrowed is only repaid when the property is sold or the homeowner dies. If the home is jointly owned by more than one homeowner it is when the last homeowner dies. 

Find out more about this pilot including where it is operating, what measures are included and the eligibility criteria at Home Energy Scotland - Equity Loan.

You're a homeowner - what government assistance is available

The following schemes are available to people who meet the eligibility criteria, details of which can be found on the Home Energy Scotland website. If you don't meet the criteria for assistance there are still energy saving loans available.

If you have lived in your home for at least 12 months

The Warmer Homes Scotland scheme is designed to help vulnerable people who are home owners or private sector tenants and have lived in their property for at least 12 months. Under this scheme there are a number of different measures available, such as loft insulation, wall insulation, central heating and renewables.  Find out more at Home Energy Scotland - Warmer Homes scheme.

Check what is available locally

Area Based schemes are offered by local authorities so what you can get will depend on where you live. They typically offer help with energy efficiency measures. Find out if you are eligible and what is available by checking Home Energy Scotland - Area Based schemes.

You're a homeowner - what loans are available

There are loans available which have been developed specifically for energy saving improvements or for installing renewable energy measures.

Interest free Scottish Government loan

The Home Energy Scotland Loan scheme is available on a first come, first served basis subject to availability of funds. Funding up to £38,500 per home is available to owner occupiers and eligible registered private sector landlords in Scotland. It is for energy efficiency improvements, home renewables systems or connections to an approved district heating scheme powered by a renewable energy source. Connection to mains gas is included.

There is more information about the Home Energy Scotland Loan scheme, including the eligible energy efficiency measures and loan repayment periods, at Energy Saving Trust Scotland.

Borrowing against the value of your property

The Equity Loan scheme from the Scottish Government is a pilot scheme that is operating in a few areas in Scotland. It allows those who qualify and meet the criteria to borrow money against the value of their property with no ongoing repayments. The money borrowed is only repaid when the property is sold or the homeowner dies. If the home is jointly owned by more than one homeowner it is when the last homeowner dies. 

There is more information about this pilot including where it is operating, what measures are included and the eligibility criteria at Home Energy Scotland - Equity Loan.

Loans for connection to mains gas 

If your home is not connected to the mains gas supply network, you may be eligible for a Home Energy Scotland loan. You can also find information about the financial support that may be available through the Help to Heat scheme with SGN.

The Green Deal Loan scheme

The Green Deal is no longer a government scheme. It ran as a UK Government scheme from 2013 to 2015. However, from 2017 it started being offered again through a private company. A Green Deal loan is a way to borrow money to pay for energy saving home improvements. 

Green Deal loans are paid back with interest, by instalments through your electricity bill over a 10-25 year period. The loan remains with the electricity supply. This may have consequences if you want to sell your property as the new owner or tenant will be responsible for the repayments you have signed up to.

When you sign up to Green Deal you are entering into a consumer credit agreement with the Green Deal provider. You are borrowing money under credit.

Before agreeing to any scheme, such as Green Deal, you can contact Home Energy Scotland who can provide a free energy check on your home and advice about energy efficiency on your property. Find more information on Green Deal funding for energy efficient home improvements.

Your community wants to invest in renewables or energy saving improvements

Communities can decide to come together to organise ways of getting energy to their home. Below is some of the support available for communities.

Community grants to reduce local carbon emissions

The Climate Challenge Fund gives grants to communities in Scotland to help them cut carbon emissions in their community. You may be eligible for funding for energy measures as part of a community initiative or they may be able to offer support and training.

The Climate Challenge Fund is supported by the Scottish Government and is administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Find out more information about the fund on the Keep Scotland Beautiful - Climate Challenge Fund website.

Help developing community renewables projects  

Local Energy Scotland can offer advice and funding for local energy projects such as biomass, wind or solar power and many other technologies. They can help with planning, development, funding applications and the launch of projects. There is information about their services on the Local Energy Scotland website.

Financial support for community projects

The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is managed by Local Energy Scotland who were established by the Scottish Government to offer financial support to local projects. There is information about their services and funding streams on the Local Energy Scotland website.

You use oil to heat your home - start an oil buying club 

If you use oil to heat your home you may want to consider forming an oil buying club. This is based on the idea that it’s usually cheaper to buy things in larger quantities. Members of a club place an order with a coordinator who negotiates a price and passes on savings to the bill payer.

Can I get paid for energy improvements I’ve made

The UK and Scottish Governments sometimes offer incentives to households who reduce energy or create their own renewable energy. Such schemes may be open for limited periods of time and you usually need to apply to get the benefits of the scheme.

Get quarterly payments for renewables from the Feed-in Tariff

The Feed-in Tariff is a UK Government scheme aimed at encouraging people to install energy generation measures, such as solar panels or wind turbines.

The Feed-in Tariff closed for applications on 31 March 2019. Check Home Energy Scotland for other financial incentives.

Get quarterly payments for renewables from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme

The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is a UK Government scheme which householders, communities and businesses (including landlords) who install or have already installed an eligible renewable heating technology could receive quarterly payments over seven years. Find out more information on the Energy Saving trust website about the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Choosing an installer

You can have an assessment of your property carried out by Home Energy Scotland to find out what is suitable for your home and budget. Once you know what you want you should get a few quotes from different tradesmen.

Sales tactics to beware of

If a salesperson asks you to sign something:

  • take time to read through the document in full - not just the first or last page. If the document is long or you need more time to read it, ask the salesperson to wait or come back at a later time
  • take a copy of anything you sign - if the sales person isn’t willing to give you a copy, don’t sign anything
  • be cautious of high pressure selling – especially if a salesperson says things like This deal is only available today" or "You’ll lose out if you don’t sign now” or “I can’t leave your house unless you sign”. You are protected by consumer protection regulations which make high pressure selling a criminal offence. You can call the police if a salesperson refuses to leave your house unless you sign something.

Once you have decided what work you want to have carried out, find out more about how to find a trustworthy trader.

How to complain about work carried out

If you are unhappy with the work carried out you should complain directly to the company. Ask them about their complaints procedure and keep a record of your complaint and any conversations you have with the company.

If you're not happy with the outcome of your complaint to the company you can contact the ombudsman. An ombudsman is an independent official appointed to make decisions in disputes between individuals and companies. Using the ombudsman is free for consumers but traders have to pay. Find out more about complaining to an ombudsman about consumer issues.

Useful contact

Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland is a national advice network funded by the Scottish Government to provide comprehensive, free, independent and impartial advice to households on saving energy, cutting fuel bills and making homes warmer. It is managed by the Energy Saving Trust.

Their network of local advice centres operates across Scotland giving free energy efficiency advice to householders, community groups, businesses and the public sector. 

Home Energy Scotland advisers can help you access both national and local funding and other energy efficiency offers. There is a broad range of help available, including help for people not on means-tested benefits.

You might be able to get extra support if you need it, for example because someone in your household is disabled. The Energycarers team can do in-home visits and provide extra help to make your home warm and your heating affordable. Find out more about Energycarers on the Energy Saving Trust website

To get advice from Home Energy Scotland, call free on 0808 808 2282 to speak to a specialist adviser in your nearest Home Energy Scotland advice centre. 

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